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A Review of The Ratchets – First Light

Asbury Park has seen its share of great music. On any given night, you can catch a show at the Stone Pony, Asbury Lanes or the Paramount Theater. There’s never a shortage of established bands, nor new groups trying to make it big.

The Ratchets have the distinction of hailing from Asbury Park. Members Jed Engine, Zak Kaplan, Dan Desimoni and Kevin Conroy kicked off their world tour for their new album, First Light, at Asbury Park Brewery on November 23, 2018, and will continue the tour in Europe thru December.

First Light is the group’s first record in over a decade. Released on Pirate Press Records on November 8, along with a box set of their previous material (the Ratchets – Essentials), this record pulls no punches. With a combination of memorable punk hits, rock and roll jams and a few ballads for good measure, First Light does not disappoint.

Track List:

1. Gotta Be Cool
2. Drone Control
3. Bad Vibes
4. 2-4-6-8 Motorway
5. Dotard At The Dial
6. World Trade Lungs
7. Paterson
8. Fiscal Spliff
9. Stray Emotions
10. War Office No. 9
11. Jammyland

The Ratchets are true punks, not swayed by mainstream norms. They get political on First Light, and it works. Dotard at the Dial is a social statement that you can’t ignore. In pure punk heart, The Ratchets deliver their disgust at the current political administration, crooning that “You can hardly stand him on the TV shows…” let alone “here in the USSA.” They aren’t afraid to take a stand and dare anyone else to disagree.

One of the catchiest songs on First Light is “Bad Vibes”. It’s a pop-punk treasure that will have you on your feet, jumping along to the beat. You can’t help but be drawn into the music with the Ratchets; they’ll get you moving even if they have to drag you out of your seat.

The Ratchets have delivered a new record that will hold up to the test of time. The depiction of social discourse, while partially potent right now, won’t fade any time soon. So if you have the chance to catch them in Europe in December, don’t hesitate. We could all use a dose of First Light.

Tour Dates:

Dec. 14: Cafe Nefast – Bree, Belgium
Dec. 15: Any Port in a Storm – Antwerpen, Belgium
Dec. 16: Cafe Central Weinheim – Weinheim, Germany
Dec. 17: Acoustic Session @ Randale Records – Schiltach, Germany
Dec, 18: Jugendkulturhaus Dynamo – Zurich, Switzerland
Dec. 19: Walfish Freiberg – Freiberg, Germany
Dec. 20: Metro Club Beroun – Beroun, Czech Republic
Dec. 21: Chelsea – Wien, Austria
Dec. 22: Youthclub Malmejo – Oostmalle, Belgium

Check out more from the Rachets at

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